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GR

7.02337.22.00

Fundamentals of

Radar Technology

for Level Gauging

4th edition (revised and expanded) by Dr.-Ing. Detlef Brumbi KROHNE Messtechnik GmbH & Co. KG

1

Foreword to the 4th edition

The first edition of "Fundamentals of Radar Technology for Level Gauging" in 1995 originated from the wish to write a concise account of the technical basis of the then still relatively young field of industrial radar technology. Although countless books and articles had already been published on radio frequency technology and radar methods, there was still a general lack of information on the special issues relating to level measurement. Owing to popular demand, this booklet now appears in its 4th edition. Following the additions made to the 3rd edition, the contents of this new edition have again been updated, adapted to the latest state of the art and greatly expanded. Thus many aspects have been annotated by additional information, formulae of calculation and diagrams, and more space given to the subjects of TDR and signal evaluation. This booklet is not a brochure for a particular industrial product but a well-grounded article on technical fundamentals to explain the processes taking place in radar and TDR level gauges. For some it may serve as a kind of textbook to provide a deeper understanding of level measurement technology, for others it may serve as a reference work to provide more details on specific matters. Not included are subjects of a general nature, such as bus systems and power supply concepts (e.g. 2-wire technology), since they are generally applicable to process measurement technology and are dealt with extensively in many works.

Duisburg, January 2003 Detlef Brumbi

Radar handbook

Content 1 Introduction 1.1 RADAR systems 1.2 Radar milestones 2 General 2.1 Frequency, wavelength and propagation rate 2.2 Electromagnetic frequency spectrum 2.3 Postal regulations 2.4 Hazards from microwaves 2.5 Fields of application 3 Radar level measurement systems 3.1 Overview of level measurement methods 3.2 Radar level measurement - General 3.3 Comparison of radar methods 3.4 Interferometer radar 3.5 Pulse radar 3.5.1 Bandwidth of an HF pulse 3.6 FMCW radar 3.6.1 Principle 3.6.2 Type model 3.6.3 Frequency control by PLL 3.7 Power balance (“radar equation”) 4 Components for radar systems 4.1 Active devices 4.1.1 GaAs transistors 4.1.2 Active diodes 4.1.3 Silicon devices 4.1.4 Velocity-modulated tubes 4.2 Oscillators to generate microwave frequency oscillations 4.2.1 Fixed-frequency transmitters 4.2.2 DRO 4.2.3 VCO 4.3 Circuit stages for processing radar signals 4.3.1 Mixers 4.3.2 Receiver noise 4.4 Line transmission 4.4.1 Coaxial cable 4.4.2 Twin line 4.4.3 Planar lines 4.4.4 Wire in free space 4.4.5 Waveguide 4.4.6 Coupling into waveguides 4.4.7 Directional coupler 4.4.8 Reflections at junctions 4.4.9 Plug connectors 5 Antennas 5.1 Types of antenna 5.2 Antenna gain 5.3 Radiation angle 5.4 Polarization 5.5 Directional diagrams

2

page 5 5 5 6 6 6 8 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 12 12 13 13 13 14 15 16 16 16 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 18 18 18 19 19 19 20 20 20 21 22 22 23 24 24 24 25 25 26

Radar handbook

6 Signal evaluation in the pulse-radar system 8.4 Tracking 8.6 Angle of reflection 8 Evaluation methods 8.5 Reflected radar cross-section from limited targets 7.4 Liquid mixes 7.7 Signal evaluation in FMCW radar 8.1.1 Object discrimination 8.7.5 Modified radar equation 6.2 Transmission through dielectric windows 6.1 Propagation rate 6.3 Dielectric permittivity 7.3 Phasegradient method 8.7.1 Chemico-physical assessment 7.5 Sample calculation for received powers 8.5 Bulk (particulate) materials 7.4 Atmospheric signal attenuation 6.1.2 Fourier transform 8.5.3 Interface detection Annex A Table of dielectric permittivity B System-theoretical comparison between interferometer and FMCW methods C Bibliography page 28 28 28 30 31 31 32 32 34 36 37 38 38 39 40 40 42 42 42 43 43 44 44 45 45 45 46 46 48 48 48 48 49 50 50 50 51 52 54 54 55 56 58 58 60 63 Radar handbook 3 .4 Interference 8.2 Reflection at interfaces 7.1 Empty-tank spectrum 8.7.4 Scattering from particulate materials 7.2 Tank bottom tracing 8.2 Unambiguity 8.3.7 Propagation along electric lines (TDR method) 7 Reflection 7.1.8.3.5.1 Reflection factor 7.3 Measurement uncertainty 8.5.3 Free-space attenuation 6.7.3.3.1 Influence of the carrier medium (atmosphere) 6.3 Signal-to-interference ratio of an interference reflector 8.1 Counting method 8.2 Frequency dependence 7.8.2 Propagation rate on lines 6.2 Signal-to-noise ratio 8.8 Special methods 8.6 Equivalent isotropic radiation power (EIRP) 6.3 Temperature and viscosity dependence 7.3 Propagation rate in stillwells/waveguides 6.Content 6 Wave propagation 6.8.3.1 Useful signal 8.

38 ·10 –23 J/K) Correction factor Filling level Integer. velocity of light Speed of light in vacuum (~3·108 m/s) Conductor diameter Diameter (of waveguide.Symbols used a ∆a A AE AR b B c c0 d D D1. η2 σ τ ϑ 4 Radar handbook . spacing Object discrimination. antenna) Propagation loss Free-space attenuation Electric field strength r. power density Normal pressure P PE PS r R RS t T TN v ZL α εo εr εr’ εr’’ εr. value of electric field strength Peak value of electric field strength Equivalent Isotropic Radiation Power Frequency Frequency difference. number of sampling points Pressure. speed of target Natural impedance Propagation loss factor Absolute dielectric permittivity in a vacuum (8.854 ·10 –12 As/Vm) Relative permittivity Real part of relative permittivity Imaginary part of relative permittivity Relative permittivity of gas at normal conditions Phase Phase difference Wavelength Cut-off wavelength in the waveguide Wavelength in free space Radiation (antenna) efficiency Radar cross-section Pulse duration Temperature (in °C or °F) ϕ ∆ϕ λ λc λ0 η1.m.s. sweep time Normal temperature Propagation rate in the medium. delay Temperature (in Kelvin).D2 Dfree E Eeff Ep EIRP f ∆f f0 fc fA fg fD fi F ∆F G1. transit time. measuring error Aperture area Receive area Reflection area Width Bandwidth Speed of propagation. G2 h hv H k K L N p pN Distance.N Power Received power Transmission power Voltage reflection factor (Power) reflection factor Reflection scattering from a particulate material Time. spectral line interval Fundamental frequency Cut-off frequency in the waveguide Sampling frequency Cut-off frequency Doppler frequency Repetition frequency Sweep frequency. noise figure Linearity error Antenna gain Tank height Shifted tank height Magnetic field strength Boltzmann constant (1.

The term RADAR is an acronym from RAdio Detection And Ranging A complete radar measuring system is comprised of a transmitter with antenna. the reflecting target. the technical means for constructing a radar device was not available until 1922. 1960 1976 1989 Theoretical prediction of electromagnetic waves (Maxwell) Experimental verification of Maxwell’s theory (Hertz) Patent: “method of signalling distant metallic objects to an observer by means of electric waves” (Hülsmeyer) First radar device (Taylor & Young. as outlined below: 1865 1887 1904 1922 1935 from 1939 c. Introduction 1. when for the first time it was possible using a continuous-wave radar with 5 m wavelength to detect a wooden-hulled ship. USA) Used for locating aircraft (Watson-Watt. Transmitter Antenna Transmission path Reflecting Target Fig.1 RADAR systems The term “radar” is generally understood to mean a method by means of which short electromagnetic waves are used to detect distant objects and determine their location and movement. 1: Basic structure of a radar system Receiver Antenna Transmission path 1.2 Radar milestones Even though the existence of electromagnetic waves had been predicted by Maxwell in the 19th century and the theoretical principles laid down.1 1. Since then radar technology — for military. a further transmission path (usually identical with the first one). D) Radar devices to monitor the speed of road traffic First radar level gauge First compact radar level gauge Radar handbook 5 . Two separate antennas may be used. but often just one is used for both transmitting and receiving the radar signal. and a receiver with antenna. civil and industrial applications — has developed rapidly. a transmission path. GB) Intensive research for military applications (GB. USA.

2 Electromagnetic frequency spectrum Microwaves are generally understood to be electromagnetic waves with frequencies above 2 GHz and wavelengths of less than 15 cm (6”). Radar handbook 6 . or approx. 120 GHz – a limit that will extend upwards as technology advances. there are different divisions and codings. The unit "metre" is now derived from c0 (previously vice versa). Far above this limit are to be found the infrared. The 4 to 120 GHz frequency range is divided into 7 bands3. However.1 Frequency. or the electric or magnetic field strength. visible light and ultraviolet ranges. that are linked by way of their propagation rate c. wavelength and propagation rate To characterize electromagnetic waves. whose commonly used letter code is also given in Figure 2. bands upwards of 100 MHz with consecutive coding A. 1 2 3 The power or power (flux) density (power/area) is normally used as the measure of intensity. the relevant factors in addition to intensity1 are their frequency f and wavelength λ. in a vacuum it amounts to exactly 2 c0 = 299 792 458 m/s. microwave frequencies are used intensively for communications and locating purposes. 3·108 m/s. I (8-10 GHz). J (10-20 GHz). B.g. e. microwave frequencies are used up to approx. F. C. For technical purposes. The speed of light c0 is now defined as an absolute natural constant (since 1983). G (4-6 GHz). E.2 2. K (20-40 GHz). The following interrelationships exist: c=λ·f λ= c f f= c λ The propagation rate c is equal to the velocity of light. H (6-8 GHz). in gases it is only negligibly lower. 2. D. As shown in Figure 2 on the next page. General 2.

2 3. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme Fig. 2: Electromagnetic frequency spectrum with typical applications in the microwave range Radar handbook 7 .

8 GHz ± 50 MHz ± 75 MHz 24.7 mW/cm2 [BG] and 5 mW/cm2 (ANSI).2 3. according to the present state of knowledge it can be assumed that persons are not at risk provided the 3 directives issued under DIN-VDE 0848 [DIN] and by the “Berufsgenossenschaft der Feinmechanik und Elektrotechnik” [BG] (German employers’ liability insurance association in light engineering and electrical engineering) and ANSI are observed. A post office licence often involves compliance with special conditions4.5 Fields of application Microwave techniques and radar systems have become established in many technical areas – for military. provision of shielding equipment.125 GHz 61. civil and industrial purposes. restriction to certain local areas. limiting of the transmission power. chemical analysis ● humidity recorders.25 GHz ± 125 MHz ± 250 MHz 2. Most countries require an approval or licence from the postal or other authorities. the use of microwaves is officially regulated. Currently these are the following 4 frequency ranges: 2. for navigation. 10 mW from microwave level measuring systems. but the requirements are far less strict. Even at this critical point this is far below the specified limit values. There are. Taking.45 GHz 5. the maximum power density at the aperture6 of an antenna with 100 mm (4”) diameter is 130 µW/cm2 (20 µW/in2). An approval or a licence is normally required.4 Hazards from microwaves The health hazard potential of electromagnetic waves is a highly controversial subject. while the European Union requires these to conform to the R&TTE (Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment) directives.. typical transmission power levels of 0. limits for the power density: 1 mW/cm2 [DIN] and 6. altimeters ● speed measurement in road traffic ● distance warning for vehicles ● meteorology ● materials analysis.g. The following brief overview demonstrates part of the large range of application: ● to locate and measure the movement of flying objects ● to locate aircraft and ships. notification of the location.3 Postal regulations To prevent mutual influence and interference.1 . Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 2. ● industrial level measurement systems 4 5 6 For example. However.. These define e. also internationally released5 frequency bands for industrial. scientific and medical purposes (so-called ISM bands). 2. for example. however. Some of these are shown in Figure 2. Homogeneous power distribution assumed Radar handbook 8 .

dependent on liquid. Many traditional and modern methods have been developed [Webster]. Drawbacks: radiation exposure. temperaturedependent resistor is dipped into a liquid. almost independent of carrier medium and surface of the liquid product.3 3. is sensed. low accuracy. low accuracy. Advantages: non-contact measurement. a) The position of a float. Drawbacks: risk of contamination. even very weak reflections detectable. Advantages: largely independent of tank internals. Gamma rays are more greatly attenuated as they pass through the medium than in the atmosphere. A method that also measures the transit time of radio-frequency signals which. good accuracy. c) a sensing plate is mechanically guided on the surface until uplift is detected. the electrical resistance varies with the depth of immersion. Normally only used as a liquid-level switch. b) a float (“displacer”) dips partially into the liquid and the change in weight is measured. heavy contamination causes failure. Measures the current flowing through an electrode at the instant it comes into contact with the liquid. 9 Buoyancy: Capacitive: Conductive: Vibration: Thermal: Radiometric: Laser: Ultrasonic: Microwave: TDR: Radar handbook . Radar level measurement systems 3. fails in vapour atmospheres. Measures the transit time of the signal. in which case the insulating capacitance in the wetted part is effective. A term frequently used is “bottom pressure transmitter”.1 Overview of level measurement methods Measuring the level of liquids or solids in vessels is a frequent requirement in industry. Advantages: relatively low cost. Drawbacks: dependent on the density of the medium. Measures the transit time of a radar signal that is reflected from the surface of the liquid. Deduces the transit time of a laser beam reflected from the surface of the liquid. elaborate calibration. reflected from the surface of the liquid and received. good accuracy. Advantage: low cost. Drawbacks: dependent on the medium. Advantages: non-contact measurement. very good accuracy. expensive. Drawbacks: dependent on the density of the medium. Normally only used as a liquid-level switch. Measures the level-dependent capacitance between an electrode dipped into the liquid and the tank wall. however. Drawbacks: low accuracy. Drawbacks: sound velocity heavily dependent on gas composition and temperature of the atmosphere. narrow beam angle. of which the most important are described in brief: Hydrostatic: A pressure sensor is fitted to the tank bottom to measure the differential pressure relative to the environment. An ultrasonic signal is emitted. Advantage: non-contact measurement. Also called "directed microwave". Measures the degree of damping of a vibrating fork when dipped into the liquid. Utilizes the greater heat dissipation when a current-carrying. Given an electrically conductive liquid the electrode must be insulated. fails in vacuum conditions and vapour atmosphere. Advantage: noncontact measurement. travel along a conductor dipped into the liquid. whose density must be less than that of the liquid. Advantage: very simple.

however. Pulse radar: transmits a radar signal in short-duration pulses (carrier-modulated or nonmodulated). The distance of the target is deduced from the transit times of the pulses from the transmitter via the reflecting target back to the receiver (see Section 3. 2 ns for 1 ft distance). Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 3. Radar handbook ● ● ● 10 .3 3. the speed can be calculated from the Doppler shift of the frequency. The velocity v of moving targets can be determined by the Doppler shift in the received signal. reflected from the surface of the product and the echo received again after a time interval t. for which they require approx.2 Radar level measurement . FMCW radar (frequency modulated continuous wave) the signal is continuously present but the frequency is modulated. Interferometer radar: the phase of the received signal relative to the transmission phase can be established in order to measure changes in distance with the aid of a non-modulated high frequency signal of constant frequency. 6.General A radar signal is emitted via an antenna. This is the method used for vehicle speed checks. the waves travel a distance of 2 m. signal strength distance interference signal Fig.6).4). At the same time. The distance of the target can be deduced from the received signal (see Section 3. 3: Geometric configuration of reflectors and signal strength as a function of distance useful signal 3. The distance of the reflecting boundary layer – independent of the radar method used – is determined by way of the transit time t of the microwave signal: per metre target distance. λ/2-periodical (see chapter 3. usually in successive (linear) ramps. Distances cannot be measured. The level is then calculated from the difference between tank height and distance.5). Generally the distance measured is a = c · t / 2. The Doppler frequency is: fD = 2 · v · f /c.7 ns (or approx.3 Comparison of radar methods The following gives a brief description of the signal forms and properties of commonly used radar methods – keyed to specific application requirements: ● CW radar (continuous wave): this system transmits a continuous signal of constant frequency f. The absolute distance information is. however.

Radar handbook 11 . 4: Principle of interferometer radar For this purpose. phase evaluation is carried out between the transmitted signal and the received signal with a delay of t = 2a/c: The accuracy of the interferometer method is determined by the resolution of the phase measurement and can be very high. a microwave signal of constant frequency is transmitted for a certain period of time. pulses are frequency-modulated („chirp“ radar). TDR method (time domain reflectometry): this is similar to pulse radar.g. ● ● The basic methods used for radar level measuring equipment are pulse radar or FMCW radar. But the result is periodical with N · λ/2 and therefore ambiguous.g. but is normally conductor-bound and used with electrical pulses without carrier frequency. In another method. and the resultant phase difference ∆ϕ determined from the received signal: forward wave λ reflected wave ∆ϕ reflector Fig. these processes are described in greater detail in the following sections. the characteristics of absorber materials or the moisture content of products. e. sometimes supported by the interferometer method. Hence.3 3. Combined methods: a combination of reflectometer and pulse can. From this material information can be deduced.4 Interferometer radar With this method. This signal is reflected from a reflector (e. also measure absolute distances. liquid surface). Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme ● Reflectometer radar: this method is used to measure the complex reflection coefficient of the target. for example. 3.

6 ps time measurement is needed. 5: Pulse radar measuring system 3. e. time signal (HF pulse): frequency spectrum (Fourier transform): sinc Fig.1 Bandwidth of an HF pulse Basically a frequency spectrum can be assigned to every time signal (Fourier transform). Another requirement is a good repeatability of the reflection signals during a sampling sequence. 3.6). an accuracy of approx. for example.6).3 3. see Fig.5 Pulse radar The principle is very simple: a short electrical pulse or wave package is transmitted. the requirement for a time accuracy of ps for the sampling procedure remains the same. the same bandwidth as an FMCW radar with 1 GHz sweep.002 µs.04”) distance measurement. a spectrum is formed representing a sinc function (sin(x)/x).5.g. Nevertheless. for a signal with 1 MHz repetition frequency at the points: 0.003 µs. 4.000 µs. Radar handbook 12 . meets the reflector after time t1 = a/c and is received back after a total time t2 = 2a/c. An extended time scale is normally used by sampling7 so that signal evaluation can be performed in the range of low frequencies (see chapter 8. 2. B = 1/τ. 6: Time signal and spectrum of a radar pulse The same diagram applies to an (ideal) squarewave pulse without carrier frequency when f0 = 0. 1. Fig. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 3. 6). If a high-frequency signal of constant frequency f0 is pulsed with duration τ. 7 Sequential sampling of a periodic signal at continuously delayed points of time. The technical difficulty lies in obtaining accurate measurement of the time t2 because for an accuracy of 1 mm (0.004 µs etc. The 3 dB bandwidth is approx.001 µs. the signal bandwidth can be employed as a reference quantity: a pulse radar with 1 ns pulse duration has. To be able to compare pulse radar systems with FMCW systems (see chapter 3.

3 3. transmitter differential frequency f antenna delay time t = 2a/c frequency a transmitter reflector time receiver mixer f Fig. the frequency of the low-frequency mixed signal remains constant during the sweep procedure. The frequency f of that signal is proportional to the reflector distance a. 13 Radar handbook . mixed with the transmission signal. Normally evaluation is by means of digital signal processing.6. 7: Functional principle and signal trend in FMCW radar Due to the time delay during signal propagation. further signal processing is technically simple and very accurate. This signal is amplified and fed via a pin coupler into the transmitting antenna.g. linearly in a time interval (frequency sweep). in this method. 3. and processed by the microprocessor. If the frequency sweep is linear. therefore. the transmitted frequency changes so that from the difference between the momentary transmitted frequency and the received frequency a low-frequency signal (typically up to a few kHz) is obtained. 8 shows an example of an FMCW radar system 9. This is done by counting the frequency after it has been mixed with a known frequency (DRO). The received signal is decoupled via a directional coupler. the differential frequency is formed by mixing.6 FMCW radar 3. the delay t is transformed into a frequency (df/dt is the sweep velocity): f = df/dt · t Technically.2 Type model Fig. Because the resultant signal frequencies8 are low. the transmission frequency rises e. The instantaneous frequency needs to be measured in order to ensure good sweep linearity. 8 9 As opposed to the pulse radar method The individual electronic components are described in Section 4.1 Principle FMCW radar uses a linear frequency-modulated high-frequency signal. A variable oscillator VCO is controlled by a microprocessor so that the desired frequency sweep is obtained.6. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 3.

8: Basic circuit diagram of an FMCW microwave circuit mixer transmitted frequency mixer microprocessorcontrol distance measuring signal 3.6. Microprocessorcontrol Referenceoscillator Microwave oscillator Phasedetector Fig. which dynamically sets the required frequency precisely at every instant of the sweep.3 3. nonlinearity of the frequency must be in the order of 10 –6. 9: Structure of a PLL frequency control Loop filter Antenna With such a system. 14 Radar handbookl .3 Frequency control by PLL The measuring accuracy of an FMCW system depends on the non-linearity of the frequency sweep [Stolle. This can only be accomplished by using active frequency control by means of a PLL circuit (phase locked loop) [Musch]. but with the added benefit of gaining definitive information on distance. the same measuring accuracy can be obtained as with a static interferometer radar system (see Annex B).2]: ∆a/a < 8·∆F/F To obtain measuring accuracy in the mm range at distances of 10 m and more. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme directional coupler received signal antenna VCO amplifier pin coupler DRO Fig.

when compared with an isotropic antenna.7 Power balance (“radar equation”) With reference to the basic system shown in Fig.2. only emit as much power as is fed into it. The antenna gain describes the higher power density that is obtained with a directional antenna. of course. the following system equation – often termed “radar equation” – is obtained: PE = PS · G1 · R · G2 D1 · D20000 10 An antenna can. 1 the following power balance quantities are assigned to the various component parts: Transmitter: Transmitting antenna: Transmission paths: Reflecting object: Receiving antenna: Receiver: transmission power PS antenna gain10 G1 propagation loss D1. 15 Radar handbook .3 3. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 3. D2 reflection factor R antenna gain G2 received power PE Accordingly. See also Section 5.

but it is nevertheless ranked among the active diodes because of similar physical transit time effects. HEMT (b) and HBT (c) (after [Meinke]) n+ n n+ n+ GaAs GaAs Source Gate n AlGaAs semiconductor substrate (undoped GaAs) (b) HEMT Drain Emitter Basis AlGaAs n GaAs p GaAs np+ Collector semiconductor substrate (undoped GaAs) (a) MESFET n+ GaAs semiconductor subtrate (c) HBT 4. that are used principally in the frequency ranges of 1 GHz to approx. as shown schematically in Fig. Components for radar systems 4. this device is not a diode because it has no p-n junction.g. Source Gate Drain Fig.1 GaAs transistors Transistors made of gallium arsenide are amplifying semiconductor devices (usually in the form of MESFETs. Frequency modulation.4 4. also known as the Esaki diode (made of Ge. For example. these devices are used in satellite receivers and other high-frequency circuitries for oscillators.1. Such active diodes include: ● the tunnel diode. For example. 10 Cross-section through the structures of MESFET (a). resonant tunnel diode (RTD) Gunn diodes are relatively expensive and therefore not worthwhile for low frequencies < 20 GHz. GaAs or GaSb) ● the IMPATT diode (impact avalanche transit time) ● the BARRITT diode (barrier injection transit time) 11 ● the transferred electron device (TED) or Gunn diode ● the quantum effect diode. 10.1.2 Active diodes Various bipolar semiconductor devices are available which have a negative differential resistance characteristic in certain operating conditions and so can be used for amplifier or oscillator purposes. 30 GHz for low-power applications (a few mW). as required for FMCW systems. field-effect transistors with metallic gate). e. More recent developments are hetero-bipolar transistors (HBT) and high electron mobility transistors (HEMT).1 Active devices 4. i. 11 Strictly speaking. with very few components and a very small space requirement. Gunn diodes are therefore used mainly for pulse oscillators in the range above 20 GHz. they can be used to assemble low-power oscillators in the microwave range up to about 100 GHz. would only be implementable with considerable outlay. These types of transistor consist of various semiconducting layers.e. since here the GaAs MESFETs have currently reached the limit of their technical capabilities. mixers and amplifiers. Radar handbook 16 .

2.45 GHz). Considerable advances have been made in the last few years. 13 The transit frequency f T is the frequency extrapolated from the decreasing frequency characteristic by –20 dB/decade.4 Velocity-modulated tubes High microwave outputs (up to some kW) at high efficiency levels (80%) can be obtained with velocity-modulated tubes (e.g.: G = fT/f. which currently is available with transit frequencies13 of up to 45 GHz and achieves sufficient gain in the range up to about 15 GHz. the frequency-limiting parasitic effects are minimized in the SIEGET by short bonds.g. at which the gain is 1 (0 dB).1 Fixed-frequency transmitters Oscillators for systems with a constant transmission frequency (CW radar) are usually equipped with GaAs-FET.g. magnetron. Magnetrons are used.4 4. 8). 4. for example. GaAsMESFET. which e. 4. 4. acts on a variable capacitance diode (varactor diode) in a resonant circuit.1.2.2 DRO An oscillator for a stable fixed frequency can be made with the aid of a dielectric resonator (usually made of ceramic material) in conjunction with an amplifier element (e. Utuning resonant circuit Fig. 4. In measuring systems. Special velocity-modulated tubes are available to generate frequencies up to some 100 GHz. Radar handbook 17 .3 Silicon devices The development of transistors made of silicon (Si) is continuing in the direction of higher cut-off frequencies. two metallization layers and a ”buried" emitter area. Since the resonant frequency depends essentially on the geometric dimensions of the resonator. in microwave ovens (2. 4. with the SIEGET family12 (Siemens grounded emitter transistor). Within this decreasing range the gain is approx. SIEGET). an extremely stable frequency is guaranteed with low temperature drift.1. Velocity-modulated tubes are not suitable for radar level measuring systems because they are too large in size and such high power outputs are not required. 11: Schematic of an oscillator circuit with transistor Tr and varactor diode Cvar 12 Unlike the structure of a standard n-p-n or p-n-p bipolar transistor.2 Oscillators to generate microwave frequency oscillations 4. a DRO is frequently used as a reference for the mixer to determine the transmission frequency (see Fig.2. the transmitted frequency can be varied – which is necessary for an FMCW radar system (see Figs 8 and 11).g. e. By means of a control voltage. when it is termed a DRO = dielectric resonance oscillator. klystron).3 VCO A voltage controlled oscillator is required for transmitters transmitting frequency-modulated signals. SIEGET or Gunn diodes in known basic circuitries.

g.g.1 Mixers Mixers are used to generate an output signal from two signals of different frequencies with the appropriate differential frequency.3. With the relatively short ranges (up to some 10 s of metres or 100s of feet) that are relevant for level measurements. powers of less than 1 mW to a few mW are sufficient to obtain a sufficiently large signal-to-noise ratio. The latter is generally eliminated by frequency filtering. taking into account the total transfer function (see Section 6. Multiplying two sine functions together produces sinusoidal signals with the differential and the cumulative frequency. The signal-to-noise ratio should be as high as possible in order to obtain high detection reliability and a low error rate. T the absolute temperature. giving a mixture frequency of 1 GHz. ● 4. which is easier to process metrologically than the considerably higher VCO frequency by the direct method). the input-related noise is increased by the noise figure F : P’noise = F · k · T · B.4 3. with the aid of transistors in various circuit configurations (as multipliers or non-linear amplifiers) or with diodes using their non-linear characteristic.2 Receiver noise Natural thermal noise is calculated according to: Pnoise = k · T · B.5). Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 4. where k is the Boltzmann constant.3 Circuit stages for processing radar signals 4.3. For a receiver. Mixers can be made e. The required transmission power is determined from this. the differential frequency is processed as a distance-proportional signal for level measurement. 18 Radar handbook . another to mix the signal received by the antenna with the transmission signal. and B the receiving bandwidth. VCO = 10 GHz and DRO = 9 GHz. FMCW systems (see Fig. 8) generally feature two mixers: ● one to allow measurement of the VCO transmitted frequency after mixing with the DRO frequency (e.

Depending on quality.4.4 Line transmission 4. outer conductor dielectric inner conductor Fig.4 4.4. dielectric 2 wires Fig. The electromagnetic field surrounds the entire space around the twin line. and is calculated for the coaxial cable according to the equation14: To design a "standard" line with 50 Ω. It is suitable for signals from d. 20 GHz. The electromagnetic field is only formed inside the cable. It describes the ratio between voltages and currents in the individual waves on the line.2 Twin line The twin line consists of two conductors routed in parallel by spacers or a dielectric jacket.c.1 Coaxial cable A coaxial cable generally consists of a wire as the internal conductor and an external conductor – wire mesh or tube – with synthetic material in between as the dielectric. 12: Coaxial cable The natural impedance ZL is an important parameter of a transmission line. coaxial cables are capable of transmitting electrical signals from direct current up to high-frequency waves of approx. 13: Twin line Natural impedance is calculated according to the equation: 14 Assuming a lossless line and non-magnetic environment (µr = 1) 19 Radar handbook .35 with a Teflon filling (εr = 2. the diameter ratio must be D/d = 2.3 with an air filling and D/d = 3. so the coaxial cable is a low-radiation type. 4. to a few GHz.1).

4 4.1]: For example. waveguide dielectric Fig. 14: Planar line rear metallization In the structure shown in Fig. the line width must be b = 0. 7 GHz at D = 25 mm (1”). Wire in free space A single wire in free space also transmits electromagnetic waves – however with losses because of radiant emittance. The natural impedance ZL = 377 Ω /√εr is approximately the same as that of free space (so-called characteristic impedance).4. 4.4.3 Planar lines Planar lines (also called striplines or microstrip lines) consist of plane line structures applied to a dielectric substrate. 14. for example. This is roughly the same setup as that of a TDR system (see chapters 3.5 Waveguide A waveguide consists of a metal tube with circular or rectangular cross-section in which high-frequency electromagnetic waves are propagated along its length. The advantage of this form of line is that other devices are also easy to mount.25 mm. 4.2) of thickness a = 0. An example is shown in Fig.4. 14.4. for b ≥ a the natural impedance is approximately [Pehl. fc is approx. In contrast to the coaxial cable or the twin line. the waveguide can only transmit signals with a defined minimum frequency fc.7) with a rod or wire rope. for a commonly used Teflon substrate (εr = 2. The following formula applies: 20 Radar handbook .75 mm if the natural impedance is to be 50 Ω. For the H11 fundamental wave in the circular waveguide with an inside diameter D.1 and 6. The waveguide can be filled with air or a dielectric.

a situation to be avoided is for the operating frequency to be distinctly higher than the cut-off frequency fc.g. The cut-off wave length λc for individual modes in a circular waveguide is.g. for example: Typ λc /D H11 1. waveguide upper side PCB Fig.306 H21 1. 4. there are various possibilities for planar coupling – directly from the PCB to the waveguide.4.820 E21 0. the transmission losses of a waveguide are lower than those in coaxial cables or twin lines. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme However. since then higher modes can also be propagated at a different velocity: which is slower than in free space.6 Coupling into waveguides A coupling device is required for transition from the double-line transmission path (e. 15: Waveguide (left) and coupling into waveguide (right) waveguide In addition.706 E01 1. e. a so-called pin coupler.029 E11/H01 0. 16: Planar waveguide coupling with fin line (left) or in radial arrangement (right) lower side waveguide Radar handbook 21 .589 At GHz frequencies. coaxial connection sheath air pin coupler Fig.612 H12 0.4 3. coaxial cable) to a waveguide.

4. 0). the antenna to gate 2. Where there is a junction between one line structure with natural impedance Z1 and another line with Z2 we obtain the following voltage reflection factor r: 22 Radar handbook . the natural impedance will also change. since both signals are present simultaneously at the coupling point. and the receiver mixer to gate 4.4. so that unwanted reflections can occur at these points. the transmission amplifier could be connected to gate 1.8 Reflections at junctions At every junction in a conductor (particularly in waveguides) at which the cross-sectional geometry or the dielectric material changes. For example. P3 3 P≈0 4 4 P≈0 3 P3 Fig.4 4. 8. 17: Examples of planar directional couplers [Pehl. 17 is that a wave (P1 fed into a gate is transmitted only to 2 gates (P2 and P3) while the 4th gate remains largely without power (P = approx. The same applies analogously when a wave is fed into another gate. For that reason suitable design measures are necessary at junctions in order to keep reflections as small as possible. 4. By this means the high-energy transmission signal is not transmitted to the sensitive mixer.7 Directional coupler A directional coupler transforms only such waves along a second line structure that are transmitted in a predetermined direction along the first line. Gate 3 is not used and must feature a non-reflecting termination. For single-antenna systems it needs to be fitted in front of the antenna connection in order to decouple the received signal and separate it from the transmission signal.1] 1 P1 2 P2 P1 1 2 P2 The characteristic of the planar structures shown in Fig. in the system shown in Fig.

18: Voltage reflection factor at the junction of a 50 Ω line In waveguide structures.4 A negative value for r means that the polarity of the reflected pulse reverses. 19: Examples of impedance transformers in waveguides λ λ 4 4 λ 4. 18 shows the value of r at the junction between a (standard) 50 W line and a line with natural impedance Z2: Fig. By combining different materials with matched εr and using special geometries15 an approximately reflection-free junction can be obtained which effects “impedance transformation” of the waves (Fig. the challenge is to implement a junction that has the least possible reflections. They exhibit low throughput losses and good active return losses. ε0 ε1 ε2 ε0 ε1 ε2 Fig. Fig. when the waveguide is filled with materials having different dielectric constants er. 19). the geometry being in a certain proportion to the wavelength in the dielectric.9 Plug connectors Plug connectors are required to provide quick-connection facilities between coaxial cables or between such cables and circuit modules.4. So-called SMA connectors are the most commonly used for the maximum-frequency range up to 26 GHz. 23 Radar handbook . 15 Mostly dielectric bodies with gradually or abruptly changing cross-section or filling of the waveguide.

5 5. [Meinke] Radar handbook 24 .g. as it were.3]. the antenna “amplifies”. the signal. The spectrum of geometries is extremely varied16.2]. power density in the lobe is higher.1 Types of antenna The following figure shows some of the most commonly used antenna types. it also has a directional effect. The following relation exists between the antenna diameter D or aperture area A of a conical horn radiator and the antenna gain G1: 16 Refer to the literature. [Philippow. Antennas 5.2 Antenna gain The antenna emits the waveguide wave into the free space below the antenna aperture. The antenna gain is the better the larger is the aperture area A of the antenna and the smaller the wavelength λ. 20: Various form of antenna dielectric sleeve dipole dielectric lens 5. but the forms shown represent the most practical versions for level measuring systems. auxiliary reflector pyramidal horn conical horn primary radiator parabolic reflector dielectric rod antenna coupling point dielectric Fig. e. [Pehl. The quantity “antenna gain” is closely connected to the directional effect: since the high-frequency power is emitted in a narrower spatial angle. In addition to adjusting natural impedance.

at the edge of this lobe the power density is half the size it is in the middle).e. Fig. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme Typical values for antenna efficiency h1 are approx. a small radiation angle. 0.2]) The radiation lobe is slightly asymmetrical (elliptical) due to polarization of the waves (see subsection below).5 3. For level measuring systems. 21: Radiation angle of horn antennas (approximative values after [Pehl. i.3 Radiation angle A characteristic quantity for describing the directional effect is the radiation angle or halfvalue width.5 . i. Due to reciprocity17 a gain G2 is imputed to a receiving antenna that is generally equal to the transmission G1: G2 = received power of antenna in a planar wave field (optimally aligned) received power on an ideal isotropic radiator The following correlation with the effective receiving area AE is given by: 5. This is defined as the cone angle at whose edge the power density is 3 dB below the maximum power density (i. good focusing.8.0. 17 Reciprocity of characteristics for transmission and reception 25 Radar handbook . the larger the aperture area. the higher the antenna gain.e. 21 gives a rough estimation of the half-value width of horn radiators with an aperture angle of approx. The smaller the radiation angle. is desirable in order to avoid interference reflections as much as possible from the tank wall or tank internals. By approximation the following equation applies (D = antenna diameter): angle [degrees] 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 3 radiation angle 4 5 6 7 8 D 9 10 λ Fig. 40°.e.

Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 5. and also E vectors that are vertical to the conducting surface. In a first approximation it can be assumed that the characteristic is rotationally symmetrical around the main radiation direction. represented by different radiation patterns for the E and H field is not discussed here. or the direction of polarization rotates in space and time (elliptical or circular polarization).4 Polarization In the microwaves emitted by the antenna the vectors of electric field strength E and magnetic field strength H are constantly oriented (linear polarization).5 Directional patterns The radiation pattern of an antenna describes the distribution of power density over the solid angle. 22. 18 19 This applies to plane wave fronts and so. strictly speaking. From the examples given in Fig. it can be seen that apart from the major lobe there are also side lobes which are particularly well developed for the dielectric rod antenna. the direction of the linearly polarized wave can be significant in the vicinity of metal surfaces (e. Vectors E and H are always perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of propagation18. If the direction of polarization coincides with this.g. 5. Radar handbook 26 . only to the far-field region of the antenna. Any asymmetry due to polarization. so that the resultant directional pattern can be represented in a two-dimensional graph19. a tank wall).5 3. since there only such H vectors exist that run parallel to the conducting surface. In level measurement technology. strong reflections are obtained from the wall and signals are cancelled due to wave interference.

amplitude /[dB] -10 Horn antenna D = 6 x lambda -15 -20 -25 -30 Angle / [°] -90 -80 -70 -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 -5 Rod antenna L = 12 x lambda rel. 22: Measured directional patterns of a horn antenna and a rod antenna Radar handbook 27 . Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme -90 -80 -70 -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 -5 rel.5 3. amplitude /[dB] -10 -15 -20 -25 -30 Angle / [°] Fig.

but deviating propagation rates can occur in special application conditions. The greater the diameter of the stillwell. It is important that only the desired fundamental mode be generated in the stillwell. generally 105 Pa (= 1 bar = 14. 10 bar/145 psi and higher) b) waveguides used as stillwells. however. Wave propagation 6. This method is normally adequate. Exact compensation.6 6.15 K (= 0°C/32°F) normal pressure. pressure and temperature: where: εr. The corrected distance a is then: a = ao · K The following subsections describe the correction factor K = c/co obtained from theoretical calculations. 6. It is very close to unity but is dependent on medium. requires a calibration measurement.1 Propagation rate To calculate distance with the radar measuring system.4. Normally. the influence of the atmosphere on the speed of light need not be taken into account for the measuring accuracy of microwave level measuring systems. permittivity of gas at normal conditions normal temperature (in Kelvin). the free-space speed of light in a vacuum or in air is generally taken as the basis.5 psi) temperature (in Kelvin) pressure Thus the correction factor as the ratio of propagation rate c to the speed of light in a vacuum co is: 28 Radar handbook .N TN pN T p rel. since multi-modal propagation within the waveguide would lead to different transit times (see chapter 4.1 Influence of the carrier medium (atmosphere) Microwaves are propagated almost independently of the carrier medium. generally 273. the greater is the risk that higher modes will be activated by interference. Correction is relevant under the following conditions: a) high pressures in the tank (with air.1. Such a systematic error of the measured distance can be taken into account by using a correction factor K in signal evaluation. The relative permittivity εr of the gas in the atmosphere above the liquid determines the propagation rate of the microwaves.4) and thus to signal distortion. for example. approx.

58 · 10-3 -3 Medium Air Carbon dioxide Hydrogen chloride Ammonia εr.52 · 10-3 0.994 0.60 · 10-3 7.993 0.992 0.26 · 10-3 0.3%.997 0.998 0.995 0.N be lower or even substantially higher: Medium Helium Hydrogen Oxygen Argon Nitrogen εr.55 · 10-3 0.59 · 10-3 1.987 0 Normalized propagation rate in air temperature 150°C / 300°F 100°C / 210°F 150°C / 120°F 125°C / 75°F 110°C / 30°F -25°C / -15°F 5 pressure 10 145 15 20 290 25 30 435 35 40 bar 580 psi Fig.989 0.990 0. nitrogen and argon behave similarly to air. dependent on εr. 23: Change in propagation rate at pressure and temperature Significant deviations arise only when pressure levels exceed 10 bar (145 psi).1 0.000 0.999 0. with other gaseous media the quantitative effect can.03%.991 0.07 · 10 0. For deviating pressures and temperatures the following graph is obtained: K 1.996 0. Oxygen.00 · 10-3 4.N . Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme For air at normal conditions. the measuring error then exceeds 0.20 · 10-3 Radar handbook 29 . the difference in the propagation rate compared to a vacuum is only 0.1 0.6 3.988 0.N . A correction will of course only make sense provided the pressure in particular remains approximately constant during measurements.

g.1. When the line is completely surrounded by a dielectric εr. planar line.4).5).1.4.6 3.3 Propagation rate in stillwells/waveguides Another physical factor affecting the propagation rate is when microwaves are propagated not in free space but inside a pipe acting in the same way as a waveguide (see chapter 4. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 6.4.1 to 4. Correction factor for propagation rate in the waveguide Fig.4.3) or given ohmic and/or dielectric losses20. the propagation rate is: Given a spatially restricted dielectric (e. value c/c0 needs to be specially calculated.2 Propagation rate on lines Electromagnetic waves are propagated at the speed of light along a loss-free line (sections 4. The liquid surface to be measured is located inside the stillwell. 24: Change of propagation rate in the waveguide (K = c/co) diameter / wavelength D / 20 Heat loss in the conductor / dielectric material Radar handbook 30 . section 4. or the coaxial cable is filled with a dielectric. 6.4.

which ideally cancel each other out (Fig. 25). We therefore obtain the ideal thickness d of the window with material property εr as: 21 22 Relevant is the so-called group velocity.7 will change according to the table in section 4. It is reasonable to assume that the difference in the transit time of the waves must be a multiple of the wavelength inside the dielectric. glass. not the phase velocity of the waves Group velocity. 31 Radar handbook . divided up into incident wave and reflected wave. The propagation rate in the cylindrical waveguide (inside diameter D) is22: The diagram in Fig. The minimum diameter is dependent on the wavelength.6 The thinner the pipe. 24 shows the correction factor as a function of the inside pipe diameter. the slower are the waves propagated21. To this end. ceramics) are used which for the microwaves should preferably be transparent and low reflecting. temperature and product. 6. 25: Reflection of waves from a dielectric window The series of events can be imagined thus: a first (negative) reflection r1 occurs at the left interface between air and dielectric and a second (positive) reflection r2 at the right interface.5. or frequency. incident wave transmitted wave reflected wave dielectric window Fig. for other modes the factor 1. "windows" of a dielectric material (plastics.4.2 Transmission through dielectric windows The practical application of radar level gauging systems requires that the tank interior be separated from the tank exterior in order to provide separation of pressure. the formula applies to the fundamental mode of the H11 waves.

a[ft] · α [dB/ft] Attenuation must be considered for both ways. for stainless steel waveguides about 0. power additionally decreases exponentially with distance a. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 6.5 dB/m.02 … 0.2 … 1. 23 However. the equation is simplified to: P’[dB] = P[dB] .2 dB/m. the power density is largely constant23 (independent of a): 6. typical values for copper are about 0. α is the relevant attenuation factor (unit m–1 or ft –1): P’ = P · e – α · a If the powers are given in dB and attenuation in dB/m or dB/ft. An isotropic (having the same physical properties in all directions) radiator distributes its transmission power at distance a on a spherical surface of size 4 π a2.4 Atmospheric signal attenuation Given transmission losses.a[m] · α [dB/m] P’[dB] = P[dB] . Radar handbook 32 .6 3.3 Free-space attenuation By this is meant the power density decreasing in step with increasing distance from the radiator in the loss-free medium. slight attenuation does occur due to the resistance of the pipe wall. the following is given for the power density p: There is no free-space attenuation in a stillwell. Including antenna gain G.

5 g /m2 moisture content. so that in the ideal case24 the transmission power is totally reflected. However.6 The attenuation factor is dependent on frequency. Therefore. The absorption maximum at approx. It is given in Fig. depending on the size of reflecting area AR: (a) The reflecting area is so large that it intersects the beam cross-section completely.3 the power density of the waves before reaching the reflector at distance a is given by: The distinction now needs to be made between 2 cases. Attenuation performance is dependent on pressure. it dampens microwave signals in the X-band (10 GHz) so much that no reflection is measurable.10 bar/145 psi at 10°C/50°F) usually forms a dense gas phase above the liquid. the total path a + a is travelled to the receiving antenna. 33 Radar handbook . see Section 7. temperature and relative humidity. which under pressure (approx. 6. and the power density is: 24 Reflection factor R = 1. 20 GHz is due to water vapour. in practice.7 the relations for antenna gain and propagation loss can now be included.1. the maxima at 60 GHz and 120 GHz to oxygen. According to Section 6. in practical terms microwave attenuation in air is not significant for radar level measurement systems because at typical tank heights of up to 30 m (100 ft) it is at most only about 15 dB/km · 2 · 30 m = 1 dB. 26: Attenuation of microwaves in air. The case is different with liquid ammonia (NH3). Fig. 26 for air at 20°C and 7.5 Modified radar equation Based on the radar equation given in Section 3.

see Section 7.3 the power density of the waves before reaching the reflector at distance a is given by: The distinction now needs to be made between 2 cases. the total path a + a is travelled to the receiving antenna. and the power density is: (b) When AR is smaller than the beam cross-section. so that in the ideal case24 the transmission power is totally reflected.5 Modified radar equation Based on the radar equation given in Section 3. located at distance a from that reflector. Area σ (see Section 7. we obtain the received power: 24 Reflection factor R = 1. is: By multiplying the power density with the effective antenna area and the receive efficiency η2. According to Section 6.5) then acts as an isotropic radiator with power p1. Therefore.7 the relations for antenna gain and propagation loss can now be included.σ. so that the power density at the receiving antenna. depending on the size of reflecting area AR: (a) The reflecting area is so large that it intersects the beam cross-section completely.6 6. Radar handbook 34 .1. the effective radar cross-section of the reflecting target σ is relevant.

Where a level measuring system is used in a large-area tank.g. Where extremely tall tanks or interference reflections from small internals are involved. there is the same proportional dependence25 on antenna diameter D and wavelength λ or transmission frequency f: Fig.1 (4") 0.8 GHz system with 130 mm (5”) dia. antenna. This applies only up to a point to the cross-section of the reflected beam σ.2). 27 gives a comparison of various radar systems using different antennas and transmission frequencies.6 Also taking into account the equation for antenna gain G1 (Section 5. and atmospheric attenuation α and a reflection factor R of the reflecting surface (see Section 7). 25 Assuming that efficiencies. or a 10 GHz system with 100 mm (4”) dia. reflection factor.8GHz 1 0. for a plane face it is proportional to f 2 (see Section 7. atmospheric attenuation and effective reflector area are independent of frequency. since e. A 50 GHz system with a 45 mm (1. equation (a) should be applied by approximation: the signal decreases to the square of a.0. 35 Radar handbook . we obtain the following interrelationships: A significant point is that the received power decreases with increasing distance a. Normalized transfer functionn 100 f=50GHz 10 f=24GHz f=10GHz f=5.8”) dia. it is better to use equation (b): decrease with the 4th power of a. antenna would have the same power as a 5.1 0 20 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 (8") 200 antennea diameter [mm] Fig. however.5). 27: Transfer function of radar systems using different frequencies and antenna sizes (normalized to D = 100 mm (4”) at 10 GHz) The distinct increase in power due to higher frequencies and larger antennas is quite evident. In both cases.

28: Arrangement to measure the EIRP When allowing for the loss in free space Dfree = (4πa/λ)2. the EIRP is then calculated by: In turn. value Eeff of the field strength: For example. the received power PE is measured at a defined distance a by means of a reference antenna (gain G2): Fig. can be calculated as follows.6 Equivalent isotropic radiation power (EIRP) The equivalent isotropic radiation power (EIRP) is calculated In order to allow assessment of the effective radiated power in the main-radiation direction.m. 460 µV/m peak and 325 µV/m r. 36 Radar handbook . an EIRP = -45 dBm at a distance of 3 m (10 ft) corresponds to a field strength of approx. dependent on distance a. This is equal to the product of transmitted power PS and antenna gain G1: EIRP = PS · G1.s.s.m. In practice. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 6. the electric field strength E.6 3. whereby the distinction has to be made between the peak value Ep and the r.

both of which. but this only becomes apparent in steel lines of more than 10 m (32 ft) in length26.4.. copper or aluminium should be used. 26 As the skin effect is heavily dependent on the magnetic property µr. have a conductivity that is approximately 40 and 25 times.4. a completely non-magnetic (austenitic) steel is to be favoured. Line attenuation occurs with the finite conductivity of the metallic material.2). 29 by way of example with a rod or wire rope.1 to 4. Signal level Interference signal An interference reflection is generally formed at the junction between measuring system and rod (see chapter 4.6 6.1. 37 Radar handbook . The propagation rate along the line is equal to the speed of light. moreover. shown in Fig. c) coaxial cable. If in doubt.8). higher than steel. it will be recognized that the possibility of interference from adjacent metal objects is the greatest with the single-wire system and non-existent with the coaxial system. b) two-wire. independent of the type and dimensions of the line (see chapter 6. 29: TDR arrangement with a rod Fig. 30. waves are propagated not through the tank atmosphere but along an electric line (see chapters 4. On the basis of the field patterns for single-wire. Distance Useful signal Fig.7 Propagation along electric lines (TDR method) In the TDR method. two-wire and coaxial cables shown in Fig.4. resp. 30: Pattern of electric field lines in the plane across the line: a) single-wire.4).

alcohols. Reflection 7. and at εr = 1. accuracy. and highly conductive liquids such as acids and saline solutions of sufficient concentration). Radar handbook 38 . b) from dielectric liquids (described by the relative permittivity εr . The power reflection factor R is defined here as being the ratio of reflected power density to the power density of the incident beam R = prefl /p. the relative permittivity is a complex number εr = εr’ + jεr” whose imaginary component εr” quantifies the loss (damping) in the dielectric.5 only 1% of the signal power (–20 dB) is reflected. see Fig. Reflection factor as a function of the relative permittivity dB R Fig. For almost all materials. nitrobenzene. reflection is almost 100%: R = 1. measurability. which describes the interaction with electric fields27): the strength of reflection is a function of εr28: At a relative permittivity εr = 3. 31.g. the imaginary component is close to zero for most liquids.7 7.5 about 10% of the signal power (–10 dB). however µr is very close to unity. the relative permittivity plays a central role in the evaluation of reflectivity and applicability of the microwave level measuring system. Exceptions are for instance water. In these cases. Electromagnetic waves are reflected by electromagnetic interaction: a) from conductive surfaces (metals. the absolute value of εr can by approximation then be taken for calculations. e. error probability and detectivity in the case of non-ideal surfaces or interference reflectors. In the frequency range > 1 GHz under consideration. Generally speaking. 31: Reflection factors of dielectric media 27 28 There is an additional dependence on the relative permeability µr which describes the magnetic behaviour of the medium. Hence. so that its influence is negligible.1 Reflection factor Significant operating parameters of a radar level measuring device are dependent upon the reflected useful signal of the microwaves. repeatability.

problems often arise because some products with a high εr (e.2. Therefore. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 7. the reflection factor is: If the power received from that point in relation to the transmitted power is to be calculated. It will be seen that the interface reflection becomes stronger the greater is the difference in relative permittivity. however. Reflection factors with 2 liquid layers Fig. water) absorb microwaves. In practice. and also the reflection factor R2 at the interface for various parameters εr.g. The following diagram shows the reflection factor R1 at the upper liquid layer as a function of εr.1 >> εr.2 Reflection at interfaces When microwaves strike an interface between 2 media with relative permittivities of εr. the effective reflection factor R2 at the interface is: provided that the waves are propagated loss-free through the upper layer.7 3. Even where εr.1.1 and εr.2. it must be borne in mind that the waves still have to travel twice through the transition zone between the atmosphere and the upper layer with in each case a transmission factor of (1-R).2 the interface can in theory be readily detected. 32: Reflection factors at a liquid-liquid interface Radar handbook 39 .

but these probably decrease for long-chain compounds. water and ammonia) have a high εr . εr = 1. oxygen. ● ● ● ● ● 29 The dimensionless quantity εr should be termed relative permittivity and not dielectric constant. the basic hydrocarbons (alkanes. The dielectric constant ε is the dimensional physical material constant with ε = εr·εo.7 3. With diatomic elemental gases (e. even if this term is still often to be found in the literature for εr. for liquids usually much higher (normally ≥ 2).g.g.3 Dielectric permittivity The (relative) dielectric permittivity29 is a dimensionless quantity describing the physical behaviour of a material in an electric field.85 · 10–12 As/Vm. εr being about 1.1 Chemico-physical assessment The value of the dielectric permittivity is dependent on the electric dipole moment of the compound.3. Carbonic acids are strongly polarized only in short chains. hydrogen and oxygen) and also an asymmetrical structure (e. for water very high. helium) which are monatomic. 7. have an εr that is only slightly greater than unity. and only then have a high εr. For vacuum conditions. nitrogen. alcohols. due to affine OH and O groups.5. for gases only negligibly greater than 1.g. the rotational symmetry is only slightly disturbed. Radar handbook 40 . alkenes) or mixes thereof (gasoline. sulphuric dioxide). Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 7. fluorine). ● Noble gases (e. On the other hand. have high εr values. oils) have an εr = 2. Because of their slight asymmetries. Inorganic compounds that feature atoms with different electron affinities (e. which in turn depends on the molecular geometry and on the electron distribution. This also applies to the sulphur/oxygen componds (sulphuric acid. the following applying to the free space: ε = εo= 8. with εr = 80. The following describes the dependence of the permittivity on various influencing factors. aldehydes and ketones.g.

the electrically polarized molecules cannot align themselves fast enough in the highfrequency field). For most liquids. i. there is a transitional frequency range30 in which εr drops.7 ● ● 3. Fig. 30 31 Radar handbook 41 . Above this range. 33: Dielectric constant of water as a function of frequency [Meinke] In this transitional range the imaginary component of εr is relatively high. e.5 and 10. Due to dielectric relaxation (i. wave attenuation would also occur in the medium.3. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme Cyclic compounds because of their high symmetry of faces have lower εr values. 3332. which has at different temperatures the complex dielectric constant εr’+ jεr’’. 32 The imaginary part jεr” describes the dielectric losses in the dielectric. and depends essentially on the symmetry in the molecule.g. this has no negative influence. in the infrared or visible light range. For surface reflection. With a few media.e.2 Frequency dependence The permittivity εr decreases in step with increasing frequency f. 7. Dichlorobenzene is a case in point. εr remains constant 31.e. these frequencies lie between a few 100 kHz and a few 100 GHz. A table with εr values of different products can be found in Annex A. however. shown in Fig. The dielectric characteristic of nitrogen or halogen derivatives varies considerably. A further drop in the εr due to ion or electron resonance occurs only far above the microwave range. with the 3 positional isomers having εr values of between 2. A good example is water. this range is however located just inside the 5-100 GHz microwave range.

there are initial indications that the transition frequency is dependent upon the viscosity of the medium: the higher the viscosity. maintain this value up to microwave frequencies and beyond. dropping only slightly in the microwave range.1%/K) On transition from the liquid to the solid state of aggregation the εr generally drops abruptly (ice for example has an εr of only 3. changing in the microwave range to εr > 9 at 10 GHz. NaCl.e. have an εr that is quite distinct from that of water (εr = approx. which already have a low εr at low frequencies.3. media can be divided roughly into four categories: A) Media with high εr > 20 (tabular data for low f ). 42 Radar handbook . i. changing below the micro-wave range so that εr (approx. D) Media with low εr < 3. B) Media with high εr > 20 (tabular data for low f ). An approximation equation for a mix of two liquids with a1 and a2 parts by volume reads: In(εm) = a1 · In(ε1) + a2 · In(ε2) Organic liquids with a low εr and an added low water content have practically the same εr as the pure organic substance. Examples: Water: Organic liquids: εr drops at temperatures below 25°C Mostly negative temperature coefficient. C) Media with relatively low εr = 3-6.4 Liquid mixes Given a mixture of two or more liquids.3. – 0. εr drops at higher temperatures (typical values are around approx. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme Other media. with reference to their permittivity and frequency dependence.7 3. despite containing a large proportion of water. On the other hand. the lower the transition frequency. 7. Also. and the transition frequency is usually lower. bases and salts. sulphuric acid or acetic acid). NaOH. aqueous solutions of acids. Basically. 20 … 30 for solutions of ammonia. constant up to and into the microwave range. 7. 3-6) is constant at f > 5 GHz.2). it must be assumed that the εr is at least equal to the lowest εr of the constituents.3 Temperature and viscosity dependence A definitive temperature dependence cannot be specified as behaviour differs from substance to substance.

air).5 Bulk (particulate) materials The effective relative permittivity of particulate materials (with air in the interstices) can be much lower than that of the homogeneous solid body. a material with εr = 2 and 50% air content has an effective εr .3. λ/4 to 3λ) heavy scattering must be expected.7 3.eff of 1. L = volumetric air content in %.01·L[%] ).5. the waves are reflected or scattered when meeting the surface of particulate materials34: D >> λ: The surfaces of the particles act like miniature reflectors that reflect the waves according to the cross-section of their reflected beam. D ≈ λ: If the wavelength is in the same order of magnitude as the particle size of the bulk material (approx.4 Scattering from particulate materials Depending on the relationship between particle size (diameter D) and wavelength λ. 34): · Reflection loss from particulate materials Fig. the microwaves will disperse (see next chapter) and so greatly decrease reflectivity. For instance. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 7. 43 Radar handbook . Practically no reflection can be measured. Also to be borne in mind is the fact that with bulk materials having a particle size range in the order of the wavelength. by approximation the following applies to the diffuse reflection [Ries] (see Fig. 7. D << λ: The very fine-sized surface acts in the same way as a liquid. 34: Loss of reflection from particulate materials 34 Also to be considered is the reflection factor due to the εr of the particulate material (incl. The rule of thumb: εr.eff = 1 + (εr –1) · (1 – 0.

Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 7. 35 right). as a rough estimate the maximum allowable angle of deviation between the direction of propagation (antenna axis) and the normal line of the surface is equal to half the lobe angle (Fig. [Philippow.6 Angle of reflection The waves are reflected from a surface. right: still acceptable angle of deviation 44 Radar handbook . l = length The radar cross-section can be substantially larger than the actual reflection area. since the relevant radar equation (see Section 6. For some geometric bodies. The optimum arrangement is orthogonal alignment of the antenna axis and reflection area. pipe) σ = 4π·A2 / λ2 σ = 4π·b4/3λ2 σ = π·r 2 σ = 2π·/2·r /λ A = area b = side of triangle r = radius r = radius.g. 7. centre: inclined reflection area. the radar cross-section σ must be considered as the effective reflection area.5 Reflected radar cross-section from limited targets If reflection does not take place over the entire beam cross-section. a liquid) is not vertically aligned (Fig. 35: Influence of the angle of reflection in the case of non-orthogonal arrangements: left: inclined antenna position. it can be calculated as [Baur]. This particularity can be significant if the antenna axis (assuming horizontal surface of the medium. 35 centre.4]: Large flat plate (any shape) Triple reflector Sphere Cylinder. 35 left). Fig.g. at an angle opposed to the normal. In general. whose dimensions are large in relation to the wavelength.5) uses a sphere as reference for the secondary radiator.7 3. or the reflection area is oblique (Fig. in the case of particulate materials or due to a running agitator). that are large as compared with the wavelength λ. e. exposed to radiant radiation (e.

this requirement is normally not important (amax= 30 m → fi ≤ 5 MHz). the minimum difference in distance allowing two objects to be distinguished. 36: Reflected signal at different pulse lengths t Object discrimination. however. Hence it is necessary to satisfy the following relation (f i = pulse repetition rate): fi ≤ c / 2 · amax For the relatively short distances involved in level measurements.5. Radar handbook 45 . the signals cannot be unambiguously assigned. is given by: ∆a = c · τ / 2 By virtue of the analogy between pulse duration and bandwidth B (see Section 3. top).e.2 Unambiguity If another pulse is emitted before the reflected signal from the previous pulse has been received. bottom).1) the following general “uncertainty relation” can be set up between B and the object discrimination ∆a. which also applies to FMCW systems: ∆a = c / 2 · B 8.8 8. the system will also receive a corresponding number of pulses (Fig. 36.1 Object discrimination If two or more objects reflect the radar signal. i. if the pulse length τ is too long. the two reflections will not be separable (Fig. 36. Evaluation methods 8. However. transmitted pulse 1st object 2nd object t Fig.

measurements must be blanked out for such times.6). level below agitator).g. However. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 8.1). ∆t is the repeatability that is determined by the jitter 35 error of the sampling. 37): ● Atmospheric effects: Heavy damping or scattering from particles in the atmosphere (dust.2]: ∆a/a ≤ 8 · ∆ F/F Independent of the radar method used. the signal frequency can be calculated exactly with interpolation techniques. vapour. other sensors. agitator blades. filling nozzles. In this case.) or mediuminduced interference (e.8. the signal frequency can nearly always be accurately determined36. For the pulse radar.2) is applied. the uncertainty of time ∆t influences the result: ∆a = c · ∆t / 2 Neither is there any change when an extended time scale method is used (cf. etc. significant interference factors are (see Fig. They need to be given consideration and if necessary included in the signal evaluation in order to avoid misinterpretation. they may be included in the signal evaluation (see Section 8.8.g. etc. → If reproducible.3 Measurement uncertainty The measuring accuracy of a radar distance measurement is determined by the uncertainty of time measurement.1 “empty-tank spectrum”). In regard to level measurement. Radar handbook 46 . if the surface of the medium is at times obscured (e. no significant value can be determined for the level. an appropriate (error) message must be available. section 8. The error is [Stolle. interference reflections influence the measuring accuracy because of interaction when they occur in the vicinity of the useful signal (see also section 8. In FMCW radar. condensation or deposits on the antenna) can also produce reflection signals. but the relative measurement uncertainty is influenced by the linearity of the frequency sweep ∆F/F. ● Interference reflections Various internals (pipes. 8.) → If the surface of the medium is no longer detectable.7. foam.4 Interference Various forms of interference can falsify the received radar signal in relation to the ideal reflection pattern. 35 36 Irregular fluctuations of the sampling points of time. Even if digital evaluation by means of discrete frequency transformation (section 8.8 3.

A better solution is to change the mounting position so as to eliminate multiple reflections altogether. In pulse radar with a high pulse repetition rate. they can be detected and taken into account in the signal processing. ● ● Radar handbook 47 . an interference can however easily occur when the signals from several transmitters are interpreted as being the total reflection pattern.8 3. however. for example. its propagation path is lengthened. and is again reflected from the medium before being received by the antenna → Since multiple reflections occur at periodic intervals. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 2nd transmitter internals multiple reflection multipath propagation agitator Fig. the reflection signal is thus broadened in time and the measuring accuracy reduced → The antenna should be moved further away from the wall. Multipath propagation: If. Other microwave transmitters: Several radar systems that are installed in one tank can mutually influence one other. With FMCW radar. 37: Possible sources of interference in radar level measurement ● Multiple reflections: These occur. then strikes the tank cover or some other “good” reflector. a signal is deflected from the tank wall. for example. this probability is normally very low because the systems would have to operate in synchronism down to fractions of µs in order to generate an additional differential frequency portion within the processing bandwidth of a few kHz. when the signal is reflected from the surface of the medium.

Thus the antenna gain in accordance with Section 5. 8.03 = –15 dB. 48 Radar handbook . case (b): In this example. At T = 300 K. Let a 10-GHz radar be used. and the signal-to-noise ratio and signal-to-interference ratio for an interference reflector. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 8. 8. the receiver noise power thus amounts to: P‘noise = 4 ·10–16 W = –124 dBm. In accordance with the formula given in Section 7.5. so that the wavelength is λ = 3 cm (1.5.3.1 Useful signal For ’worst case’ estimation. i. Let the tank diameter be such that a large reflecting surface and case (a) from Section 6. Let the transmission power be PS = 1 mW = 0 dBm. the signal-to-interference ratio amounts to only 2 dB. As given in Section 7. the radar cross-section of the reflector is: σ = 4π · A2 / λ2 = 1.5.7. Atmospheric damping may be disregarded (α ≈ 0). the reflection factor of the medium is thus: R = 0. According to Section 6. a = 20 m (60 ft). εr = 2) at a low level. B = 10 kHz and a noise figure F = 10 dB are assumed. The receiver bandwidth is used for the effective bandwidth B.4 m2 The received power is calculated according to Section 6. signal frequency is f = 6.5 can be assumed.2 is: Let the tank height be 20 m (60 ft). Let a horn antenna with D = 200 mm (8”) have an efficiency η = 0. Normally noise is not a factor in radar level measuring equipment. let a tank contain a poorly reflecting medium (gasoline.5.5.2 Signal-to-noise ratio The noise power of the receiver as given in Section 4.8 3.5 Sample calculation for received powers An example is given below for calculating the received power of a radar system.2”). Therefore.5.2: P‘noise = FkTB.1. In an FMCW system with 1 GHz sweep and 20 ms sweep time.e. the received power is given as: 8.7 kHz.3 Signal-to-interference ratio of an interference reflector By way of example it is assumed that a metal plate (R = 1) with an area A = 10 x 10 cm2 (4 x 4 in2) is located at distance a = 10 m (30 ft) below the antenna. The signal-to-noise ratio is: SNR = 74 dB.

8

3. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme

8.6 Signal evaluation in the pulse-radar system Both in pulse radar (see 3.5) and in the TDR method (see 3.3), which normally use pulseshaped signals, the signal propagation time must be evaluated directly. This lies in the nanosecond range, and the necessary resolution in the picosecond range. A so-called extended time scale method is used to be able to measure such short times. Fig. 38 shows the elementary circuit arrangement consisting of two oscillators which oscillate with a slight frequency shift Df, stabilized by a PLL. Accordingly, the signal received via a directional coupler is sampled at every following pulse with a time delay of:

The time scale factor is thus f0 /∆f.

Sampling Pulse shaper

Directional coupler

Sensor Transmitted pulses (fo) Received pulses Sampled pulses (fo-∆f) Extended time signal (ZF) Fig. 38: Block diagram of an extended time scale circuit and signal diagram

The extended time signal can be evaluated by digitizing and subsequent valuation of the reflection characteristics (determination of maxima above an envelope).

Radar handbook

49

8

8.7 Signal evaluation in FMCW radar In FMCW radar, the information on the measured distance is contained in the frequency of the low-frequency signal obtained from the mixer. Accordingly, various methods can be applied to determine the frequency of analog signals, and these are outlined in the following subsections. 8.7.1 Counting method The simplest evaluation method consists in measuring the time interval between two zero crossings of the oscillations (Fig. 39: e.g. t1-t0 , t2-t1…), Results are more accurate when a greater number of cycles N are counted: ∆t = (tn-t0) /N. The problem with this method lies in the fact that the signal-to-interference ratio must be reasonably good in order to avoid making errors when determining the zero crossings. Given large interference components, the method is no longer suitable.

time t

Fig. 39: Counting method to determine frequency

8.7.2 Fourier transform The method commonly used for signal evaluation provides for a Fourier transform with the aid of digital signal processing. The signal is first digitized by being sampled at constant intervals. This is followed by discrete Fourier transformation (FFT 37) into the frequency range (Fig. 40). Generally several adjacent spectral lines occur 38. The spectal lines formed by discrete Fourier transform of a signal (cf. Fig. 30) sampled at intervals T/N have a frequency spacing of: ∆f = 1/T. In accordance with the relation for the mixed frequency:

we obtain for the local spacing of two adjacent spectral lines:

37 38

Fast Fourier Transform Due to the finite scanning period and convolution with the time window, a sinc (= sin(x)/x) function is obtained as the envelope of the spectral lines. And in general, the signal frequency is located between the discrete lines. Radar handbook

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3. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme

T

transmitted frequency

F

time N sampling points

(voltage values)

mathematical transformation

(line height)

FFT

time T 0 N time signal (behind mixer) 1 0 N frequency spectrum

Fig. 40: Digital signalprocessing in FMCW radar

Example: at a frequency sweep F = 1 GHz, a line spacing in the FFT spectrum can be calculated of 15 cm (6”) measuring distance. Using a method to locate the “weighted average” in the spectrum by interpolating between the discrete lines, however, the measurement resolution can be significantly increased provided only one reflector is located within a distance of less than ∆a. It is important to know that line spacing ∆a is only dependent on sweep F. It is not possible to improve object discrimination by changing the sampling frequency or the number of sampling points39. The above relationship is identical with the relation for the pulse radar system (see Section 8.1), if bandwidth B and sweep F are equated. The uncertainty relation formulated in 8.1 is universally valid. A great advantage of FFT evaluation is that useful signals and interference signals, provided their frequencies are far enough apart, are distinctly separated – even when the interference amplitude is greater than the amplitude of the useful signal. However, through superposition of close-by interference frequencies, it is possible for measurement deviations to occur which become apparent by a locally periodic error function40. 8.7.3 Phasegradient method As described in Annex B, the individual sampling points in the FMCW method contain phase information on the reflection signal at different frequencies. The phase gradient function can be calculated with the aid of the so-called Hilbert transform from the time signal, and from that the distance value. The calculation is more time consuming than a simple Fourier transform, but the result is more accurate when there is only small signal interference41. However, the phase gradient method is not suitable when interference signals are greater than the useful signal.

39

Even though there are methods of reducing the line spacing in the spectrum by adding further synthetic sampling values, they have no effect on the object discrimination. 40 Caused by superposition with the “sidebands” of the interference spectrum, which in accordance with a sinc function are located around the main frequency. 41 For example, by near interference reflections or frequency-dependent amplitude modulation of the RF Radar handbook 51

the following filters can be used: Antialiasing filter Due to time-discrete analog/digital conversion of the signal and because of Shannon’s sampling theorem. by way of example. 41: A high-pass filter and its filtering characteristics In all.8 8. 41 shows.8 . the frequency spectrum f has to be limited to half the sampling frequency fA : f < fA / 2. the change in frequency – and thus the change in level – can be very accurately tracked. 42: Visualization of frequency reflection when Shannon´s condition is ignored The antialiasing filter must be a very steep-sloped low-pass filter (at least 4th order) and is usually dimensioned for a cut-off frequency of 0. tracking is also carried out by means of digital signal processing. 41.. but that a finitely steep filter slope is obtained. Appropriately. This comparison supplies an error value. see Fig.5 Signal filtering Since in FMCW radar the information on the target distance is to be found in the frequency of the down-converted received signal (see Fig. If this is ignored.95 · fA / 2. in the third step. 42): f’ = fA . the higher signal frequencies will be reflected from half the sampling frequency and will produce spurious frequency contents after conversion and Fourier transform (Fig.g. for which e. 52 Radar handbook . 0.4 Tracking The objective of this method is to determine the frequency of a digitized signal. Hence the term “tracking”.7. such electronic filters are easy to set up and reproduce. from which in the fourth step the deviation of the estimated from the real value is calculated. 8). the circuit arrangement of a second-order high-pass filter with an operational amplifier. If the frequency value has not changed by too much between two measurements. It is carried out in four steps: first the frequency is estimated. Fig.. the FFT analysis can be used.7. A point worth noting for all practical filters is that the signals cannot be completely suppressed in the rejection band. Fig. but the computational effort is substantially higher than when using the FFT. in the second step.f Sampling frequency Frequency f Fig. it is possible by appropriately filtering the frequency to considerably increase the effective dynamic performance of measurement and thus improve signal quality. Owing to the low signal frequencies involved. The corrected frequency can then be used as the starting value for the next measurement. compared with the measuring signal. a signal is synthetized from the frequency and. 8.

43). Built into the negative-feedback branch of an operational amplifier. Adaptive filtering The recommended variable high-pass and low-pass filters can be most effectively used when their cut-off frequencies are set as a function of the measuring distance.g. and assuming the same reflection conditions on the surface of the liquid. a greater number of interference reflections occur in the case of short distances. undesirably strong signals will in some applications occur in the case of long distances. filters can thus be implemented with a controllable cut-off frequency.8 Spatial filter As explained in chapter 6.4. which for instance stem from the mechanical tank separation system (see chapters 4. not only is the RF signal performance restricted but the dynamic performance of the measuring system is also limited. i. The filters are optimally adapted to the current measurement situation. 53 Radar handbook . Such interferences can largely be eliminated by high-pass filtering. high frequencies. Signal strength (log. Where level measurement is carried out by means of pulse radar.4.4). Ideal is a circuit which allows changeover of the filter cut-off frequency (e. an equivalent resistance whose value is proportional to the clock frequency is synthesized by the periodic charging and discharging of a capacitor.) Double differentiator (~ f2) Spatial characteristic (~1/a2 ~ 1/f2) High-pass filter Distance a Frequency f Fig. signal amplitude diminishes with the square of the distance. In practice. a second-order high-pass filter is used with an appropriately high cut-off frequency (Fig. or wanted. the amplitude is inversely proportional to the frequency of the signal. Low-pass filter Similarly. such as when multiple reflections occur (see 8. and therefore low frequencies. None of these filters can be used in the pulsed radar system. Thus. 43: Characteristics of the spatial filter High-pass filter In practice.2) and the antenna. which if necessary can also be of changeover design. The variable clock frequency has to be substantially higher than the signal frequencies. 43) or even continuous variation by switched-capacitor filters (SCF)42.8 and 6. reflection is located farther away the high-pass frequency can be amplified in order to reject short-distance interference reflections even better. This characteristic could simply be compensated by a double differentiator circuit which amplifies the higher frequencies accordingly. so limiting the means of detecting very weak signals or very different amplitudes within a signal mix. These interferences can be reduced by low-pass filters. for example when the useful. Since in FMCW radar the frequency is proportional to the distance.e. by means of selectable resistors in Fig. 42 With the SCF.

45: Measuring errors caused by an interfering reflector: evaluation with the absolute-value emptytank spectrum (left) and complex emptytank spectrum (right) Error [mm] (Absolute value empty-tank spectrum) Error [mm] (complex empty-tank spectrum) 500 Distance from disturbing reflector [mm] Distance from disturbing reflector [mm] The term “empty-tank spectrum” originates from applying the described method to the signal spectrum of an FMCW system. can be minimized by using the complex spectrum information (including phase) (Fig. The method can also be applied by analogy to pulse radar.empty tank spectrum 0 f = corrected spectrum Fig. absolute values may be used for the empty-tank spectrum. 44: Subtraction of empty-tank spectrum 0 f In its simplest form. 45). in which case the “empty-tank time signal” needs to be subtracted. interferences are accordingly blanked out (Fig. however.1 Empty-tank spectrum Reproducible interferences caused by reflection points in the transmitter (transmission lines. tank fitting. tank bottom. Fig. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 8. 44). For current measurements. Measuring errors occurring in the vicinity of interference reflectors.) can be suppressed if the reflection signal is measured and stored when the tank is empty. 54 Radar handbook .8 3. this “empty-tank spectrum” can then be subtracted from the established reflection spectrum. etc.8.8 Special methods 8. measured spectrum 0 f . antenna) or in the tank (by fixed internals.

The medium is “transparent”. height L) are propagated at a slower velocity v. signal signal a h hv r1 r1 r2 tank bottom r2 signal in empty tank signal in filled tank Fig. waves in the medium (rel. shifted in the spectrum (FMCW) or in the time signal (pulse). ● Hence.8. Tank bottom tracing is a special evaluation method to allow measurements to be carried out in such application conditions. is evaluated and the true level established by way of the known reduced propagation rate of the microwaves in the medium: ● Whereas waves in the tank atmosphere of height a are propagated at the speed of light c. the reflection r2 from the tank bottom appears on the time axis or in the spectrum to be shifted downwards. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme 8. Given low attenuation in the medium. so the tank bottom is practically “visible”. while the majority penetrates into the liquid or particulate material. only a small portion of the power is reflected from the surface. the tank bottom appears to be shifted downwards. the waves are propagated down to the tank bottom.8 3.2 Tank bottom tracing In media with a low relative permittivity. since the propagation rate in the medium is slower than in the atmosphere. permittivity = εr. where they are reflected and pass through the medium and the atmosphere before reaching the receiving antenna. and the apparent tank height hv greater than the true height h. 46: Mechanism of tank bottom reflection and tracing Radar handbook 55 . Here the reflection from the tank bottom. However.

3 Interface detection The requirements for interface detection are described here by way of example in connection with a TDR system (time domain reflectometry. these measurement problems can be solved using a non-contacting radar system. d and from that filling height L can accordingly be determined exactly: The method can even be applied when signal from the surface of the medium is no longer measurable. 8. t0 RFelectronics conducted wave 0 < t1 < t2 < t3 2-wire line (a) 1 2 Signal at the sensor: Fig.a) therefore corresponds to the ratio of the wave propagation rates: ● Where εr . Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme ● The transit time in the medium is t1 = L / v. In principle. see section 3.8.3).a) to true filling height (h .8 3. 47: Principle of operation of a wire-conducting TDR level gauge (b) t2 2xt 1 2xt 2 2xt 3 time 56 Radar handbook . The ratio of apparent “layer thickness” (hv . h and hv are known. but the advantage of guided waves is that signal weakening is not so great and interference from the tank geometry is largely avoided. whereas for the same distance in an empty tank it would be t0 = L / c.

layer of emulsion). causing additional reflections. The polarity of the signal is reversed at each reflection from lower to higher relative permittivity. part of the wave is reflected back to the sensor (time t1). The signal delay times (2t1. which can serve as reference point. ● Radar handbook 57 . The wave is propagated along the entire line and is reflected a second time (t2) at the interface between the two liquids and a third time (t3) at the end of the line. water).g. Inadequate object discrimination (see Section 8.2). The reflected power in each case depends on the difference of the relative permittivities (see section 7. the following situations need to be considered for signal processing: ● Changing εr values due to changes in temperature or composition of product.1) when thickness of the interface is too small. ● ● ● Pronounced attenuation or absorption of the microwaves in the liquid (e. 2t2 and 2t3) indicate the positions of the interfaces and the end of the line. No abrupt transition from one product to another (e. 47 shows that an electrical pulse is generated (time t0) and guided via a 2-wire line as an electromagnetic wave.8 3. At each position at which the surrounding relative permittivity ε changes. For a reliable measuring system. Risk of product deposits on the lines. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme Fig.g.

long-chain 2. octane. [Hippel].8 Alkenes 2 Alcohols 30 14-20 .oils 2.5 . (εr values are rounded guide values for the media examples) Group of liquids INORGANIC low f 43 εr 115 80 52 22 17 9 2.liquids 2 . butane pentane. decreasing further at higher frequencies Radar handbook 58 .anhydrides 20 c c c c c 2-9 (tr) ? ? 5 ? ? ? ? c c ? ? methane.10 GHz) ? = value not known c = εr constant into the microwave range tr = at 10 GHz still in the transition range. butanone formic acid acetic acid butyric acid fatty acids (various) acetic anhydride 43 44 quasistatic.1 c chlorine. gasoline paraffins. air 1.e. Pb-. synth. benzyl alcohol glycol. glycerol form-.longer-chain 13-19 . tripene ethylene.ester 3-16 .compounds 1. nitrogen.. Si-. oxygen. ethane. fluorine .5 c argon. ethanol propanol.elemental 1. vaseline mineral. propion-aldehyde acetone = propanone.long-chain (>C16) 2 .1]. methanol.5 high f 44 εr ? 60 (tr) ? ? ? ? c ? Examples hydrogen cyanide HCN water H2O hydrazine N2H4 sulphuric acid H2SO4 ammonia NH3 hydrogen sulphide H2S Ge-.A Annex A Table of dielectric permittivity The following overview is based on data from the literature. tabular data [Weast].4-2. Ti-Cl4 Tetrachlorides Sulphur (liquid) Inorganic liquid gases (pressurized or at low temp. propylene. [VDI.05 c helium 1. i.1-2.9 3. pentanol butanol. Sn-. acet-. decane.polyhydric 40 Aldehydes 13-22 Ketones 20 Acids & derivatives 58 6 3 .6 c carbon dioxide CO2 14 ? sulphur dioxide SO2 ORGANIC COMPOUNDS Alkanes . generally up to a few kHz in the microwave range (at approx. propane.) . pentene etc. application experience and laboratory measurements.23 c hydrogen 1.5-2.liquid gases 3 . silicon oil.

PTFE . xylene etc.7 4.3 2 2. for example. PP PS. cellulose acetate. tetrachloroethylene dichlorbenzene (o-.1 . nylon phenolic aldehyde.p-) chlorobenzene.5-10 5-6 5.5 35 28 5-7 .4 1. amylamine nitrobenzene nitroethane aniline acetamide PE. generally up to a few kHz in the microwave range (at approx.5-3. chloroform chlorinated diphenyl = clophen chloroacetic acid acetyl chloride methylamine isopropyl-.8-6. be found on the Internet under: http://www. PVDF glass Al2O3 ceramics PVC powder alumina bauxite 3-8 2.m-. diethyl-.5 2.acid halides 33 16 Nitrogen derivatives 10 3. phenols trichloroethylene carbon tetrachloride.html 45 46 quasistatic.2 2. i. trimethyl-. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme (continued) Group of liquids Ether Cyclic compounds low.5 3-3.amides 60 Plastics (solid form) 1. benzyl-.e. -phenol.10 GHz) ? = value not known c = εr constant into the microwave range tr = at 10 GHz still in the transition range. PA.4 2 2.com/dc1.A 3. -hexene C6H10 toluene. cellulose nitrate.5-5. dioxan benzene C6H6 cyclohexane C6H12.9-2. melamineformaldehyde.3 3. decreasing further at higher frequencies 59 Radar handbook . ABS PVC.asiinstr.5-8. PC.4 10 Halogen derivatives 3.5 A comprehensive table with many other products can.5-5 5-9 Solids Particulate materials 3. f 45 εr high f 46 εr ? c c c ? c c ? ? c ? ? ? ? 30 (tr) ? ? ? c c 3 4-5 c c c c c Examples diethyl ether.

phase evaluation is made between the transmitted and the received signal.B B System-theoretical comparison between interferometer and FMCW method With the interferometer method. delayed with τ = 2a/c : ϕ ϕE ϕS f τ c a λ phase phase of the received signal phase of the transmitted signal frequency delay time of the wave propagation rate of the microwaves = speed of light distance of the reflector = c / f = wavelength (A1) A sine or cosine signal s can be described in general by: A ϕ f t ϕ0 amplitude phase frequency time start phase (A2) With a linear frequency-modulated signal the modulation constant m is included in the cosine function: (A3) The instantaneous frequency of signals with a time-dependent frequency is generally calculated by the differential of the phase: (A4) 60 Radar handbook .

by a mixer). ϕ2 are disregarded because they are constants and do not influence the results of the phase evaluation.B 3. Signal-theoretical description of the FMCW method: The phase difference of both signals (transmitted and received) is actually determined by the process of mixing two high-frequency voltages and subsequent digital sampling of the mixer output signal. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme For the signal in Eq. it is immaterial in signal theoretical terms whether the frequency ramp rises continuously or in N equidistant steps [Stolle].g. (A11)).g. Eq. Then the high frequency part (f1 + f2) is eliminated (e. (A3) with linear frequency modulation. A2 and the start phases ϕ1. (A3) can also be expressed as: (A5) (A6) For evaluating the phase of two signals s1 and s2 ideally a multiplication of the signals is performed (e. by a low-pass filter): Behind the low-pass filter: The phase is: (A7) (A8) For the further considerations the signal amplitudes A1. the instantaneous (time-dependent) frequency is: F frequency sweep T sweep time Hence. The FMCW system therefore acts in exactly the same way as an interferometer which determines the phase with the many different frequencies that are present at the respective sampling times. Radar handbook 61 . Except for a negligible error term (see Eq.

a calculation is made by way of a practical example for an FMCW radar method: F = 1 GHz. τ = 130 ns (equal to a measuring distance of approx. T = 20 ms. Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme The phase of the transmitted signal (see Eq. (A1). 62 Radar handbook . see Eq.(A6)): (A9) The phase of the received signal i s: (A10) Therefore. see Eq. Except for the error term F τ 2/2T the result is identical with the interferometer method. and is thus negligible. 20 m) to give: At a half-wavelength λ/2 = 15 mm (f = 10 GHz). To assess this error. the phase difference is: (A11) where f is the instantaneous (time-dependent) transmission frequency. (A5). the measuring error then amounts to: ∆a = 4 ·10–4 · 15 mm = 6 µm.B 3.

Erich. Hüthig Verlag. Arthur (Editor). Berlin. Erich. Karl-Heinz (Hrsg. Heidelberg. Salema. Rama Kant. Berlin. Taschenbuch Elektrotechnik. London. Detlef: Low Power FMCW Radar System for Level Gaging. Hüthig Verlag. Universität Siegen. 1982 Bonfig. Artech House.). Artech House. Berlin. Solid Dielectric Horn Antennas. 256-260. April 1986. Volume 3. Thomas. Taschenbuch Elektrotechnik. Lange. 1978 Philippow. Detlef. Technical characteristics and test methods for radio equipment to be used in the 1 GHz to 40 GHz frequency range. Karl Walter. 1984 Pehl.). 2000 IEEE MTT-S Symposium Digest. Heidelberg. Fernandes. 1979 Ries.). pp. Boston. Band 40 (1997) Pehl. Einführung in die Radartechnik. Measuring Process and Storage Tank Level with Radar Technology. Norwood. Brumbi. Berlin. Jha. 1995 Meinke. Technische Füllstandsmessung und Grenzstandskontrolle. pp. Carlos. Schiek. Eugen (Hrsg.1] [Brumbi.). Springer-Verlag. Eugen (Hrsg. Heidelberg. Carlos. Band 3: Bauelemente und Bausteine der Informationstechnik. Band 2: Antennen und aktive Bauteile. Fachbereich Hochfrequenztechnik. The Record of the IEEE 1995 International Radar Conference. Mikrowellentechnik. Verlag Technik. Bibliography [Baur] [BG] Baur. Löcherer. 1990 Brumbi. Expert-Verlag. Stuttgart. 1991 Draft EN 300 440: Electromagnetic compatibility and radio spectrum matters (ERM). et al.C C. Teubner. Kleinheubacher Berichte.4] [Ries] [Salema] Radar handbook 63 . G. 1984 Philippow. Dielectric Materials and Applications.3] [Philippow. 1985 Berufsgenossenschaft der Feinmechanik und Elektrotechnik. Gundlach. Ehningen.2] [Philippow. Short range devices. Erwin. April 1999 Von Hippel.2] [DIN0848-2] [EN300440] [Hippel] [Meinke] [Musch] [Pehl. Köln. Radarverfahren zur Füllstandsmessung in Großraumbehältern (Studie). Band 1: Wellenleitungen und Leitungsbausteine. Merkblatt für die Unfallverhütung. 1998 [Bonfig] [Brumbi. Verlag Technik. 1992 Musch. Band 4: Systeme der Informationstechnik. Burkhard: Erzeugung einer hochlinearen analogen Frequenzrampe mit Hilfe von Phasenregelkreisen. DIN-VDE 0848 Teil 2: Sicherheit in elektromagnetischen Feldern – Schutz von Personen im Frequenzbereich von 30 kHz bis 300 GHz. Mikrowellentechnik. Klaus (Hrsg. Taschenbuch der Hochfrequenztechnik. Entwurf Januar 1991. 1559-1562 Deutsche Norm.82 “Sicherheitsregeln für Arbeitsplätze mit Gefährdung durch elektromagnetische Felder”. Beuth Verlag. Fassung 8.1] [Pehl.

25 th EuMC Conference Proceedings (1995). Auswertemethoden zur Präzisionsentfernungsmessung mit FMCW-Systemen und deren Anwendung im Mikrowellenbereich. Berlin. 1999. (Editor). Radar-Füllstandsmesssysteme [Schiek] [Skolnik] [Stolle. Measurement. Verein Deutscher Ingenieure. Burkhard. Voges. Stolle. Holger. Burkhard. Hochfrequenztechnik. Heidelberg. SpringerVerlag. Edgar.2] [Tietze] [VDI3519] [Voges. CRC Press. 2002. 10. Schiek. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing. Ulrich. SpringerVerlag. Heidelberg. Teil 1 und Teil 2. Hüthig Verlag. 1989. New York. Merrill I. [Stolle. Instrumentation and Sensors Handbook. Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker (VDI/VDE). Hochfrequenztechnik. 1991. Funk. 1991. Heidelberg.und Radartechnik. Schiek. 55th Edition. Füllstandmessung von Flüssigkeiten und Feststoffen. Robert C. Skolnik. Schenk. Christoph: Halbleiter-Schaltungstechnik.: Radar Handbook.1] Schiek. 1999. (Editor). Berlin. Weast. Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. New York. Reinhard. A General Approach to the Estimation of Measurement Errors in Microwave Range Finding.2] [Weast] [Webster] 64 Radar handbook . Berlin. Antennen und Funkübertragung. John G. Webster.1] [Voges. Technisches Messen 62 (1995) 2. Auflage. Reinhard. Edgar. Band 2: Leistungsröhren. CRC Press.C 3. Tietze. Hüthig Verlag. Heidelberg. 1974. Cleveland. Stolle. Voges. Beuth-Verlag. New York. Burkhard: Grundlagen der Hochfrequenz-Messtechnik. Band 1: Bauelemente und Schaltungen. Heuermann. VDI/VDE 3519. 1993. Cleveland.

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